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23 Segments




'Sopranos' Embarks on Sixth Season

The new season of The Sopranos opens on Sunday, bringing the world of Tony and Carmela, Christopher and Paulie Walnuts back to dens around the country. The show's last previous episode aired in the summer of 2004.


The 'Five Families' of New York Crime

The aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks revitalized New York City's mafia organizations. That's one of the revelations of former 'New York Times' crime reporter Selwyn Raab's new book, 'Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires'.


Cassavetes's Mikey & Nicky Revisited

Critic-at-large John Powers reviews Mikey & Nicky, a film first released in 1976 written and directed by Elaine May starring John Cassavetes and Peter Falk. It's now out on DVD.


Writer Mario Puzo on the Influence of Local Mafia Figures

Puzo's new novel is "The Last Don." He is best known for "The Godfather." This new book returns him to that genre: the inner workings of the Mafia. The main character is an old man trying to secure his family's future in an era of legalized gambling, motion picture investments and the threat of government informers. His goal is threatened by familial in-fighting. The two-time Academy Award winner has also written several screenplays, including are all three Godfathers and Superman I and II.


Nicholas Pileggi Discusses His Book "Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas."

Nicholas Pileggi discusses his book Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas. (Simon & Schuster Oct. 1995) It is based on the true story of Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal and his account of how the mob controlled several casinos in Las Vegas in the 1970s and early 80s. Pileggi also wrote the screenplay for a movie based on "Casino." A film directed by Martin Scorsese starring Robert DeNiro, Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci. Pileggi's best-selling book Wiseguy was used as the basis for the film "Goodfellas." Pileggi lives in New York City.


Retired Police Officer Remo Franceschini.

Retired cop, and former head of the Queen's District Attorney's squad, Remo Franceschini spent 35 years keeping track of and busting organized crime in New York City. Franceschini figured out the family structure of the mafia, keeping a "Wall of Fame" family tree of photos and names of mobsters. Early on he predicted the rise of John Gotti, who became known as the "Teflon Don." Franceschini personally wire-tapped Gotti's headquarters, which led to indictments.


George Anastasia on the Next Generation of Mobsters

Anastasia is a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer. His beat is the Mafia; most recently he's been covering the Robert Simone trial where the prosecution rested its case today. Simone was attorney for Philadelphia mob boss Nicky Scarfo and has been accused of crime activity, attempted extortion and participating in discussions of murder. Simone was turned in by a government informant.


"A Woman's Life in the Underworld."

Writer Teresa Carpenter. Carpenter's new book, "Mob Girl," is the true life story of Arlyne (pronounced "Arlene") Weiss, who worked her way the ranks of the New York mafia, and then began a second career as a government informant. Carpenter won a Pulitzer Prize for her article on the murder of Playboy Playmate Dorothy Stratten. That article was the basis for the movie "Star 80."


The Real Stories Behind "Bugsy."

Biographer Robert Lacey. Lacey's new book, "Little Man" is an examination of the life of gangster Meyer Lansky. (It's published by Little, Brown). Lacey and Terry Gross will discuss how the movie's portrayal of gangsters differs from reality.


Ernest Volkman Discusses John Gotti and the New Generation of "Yuppy" Mobsters.

Journalist Ernest Volkman. He and co-author John Cummings' new book "Goombata: The Improbable Rise and Fall of John Gotti and His Gang," chronicles the history of the mofia godfather once proclaimed the "Teflon Don." Since 1986, when Gotti took over the leadership of the Gambino crime family, he's been acquitted in three criminal trials. The latest was an assault and conspiracy trial in New York, in which he was acquitted February 9, 1990.


The Man Who Took Down the Philadelphia Mob.

Former mafia member Joseph Salerno. Salerno's damming court testimony was the lynchpin that brought down Philadelphia mafia don Nicodemo "little Nicky" Scarfo. Salerno was drawn into the Cosa Nostra in 1976. After taking part in a mob hit in 1979, Salerno decided to testify against Scarfo. That led to a 200-thousand dollar contract against Salerno and his fleeing into the witness protection program and assuming a new identity. With Stephen J.


Infiltrating the New York Mafia

For six years, Joseph Pistone worked undercover for the FBI to investigate the Mafia. His testimony helped convict over one hundred people, including those involved with the Pizza Connection heroin operation. His new memoir is titled Donnie Brasco -- the name he used when working with crime families.


"Wiseguy" is the Best Show Since "St. Elsewhere"

TV critic David Bianculli reviews the police procedural, now in its second season. He admires how the show takes its time with each storyline, exploring one over the course of several episodes -- and often featuring long-term guest stars.


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